ISLAMABAD: The Modi government may try to make it difficult for Pakistan to send delegates to the important ministerial meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in India, according to an initial internal assessment. Pakistan may be considering attending these sessions.
Pakistan was considering accepting the invitation India extended as the SCO president for the upcoming meetings of the defense and foreign ministers, according to official sources acquainted with the development who spoke on Tuesday.
The SCO foreign ministers’ gathering will take place in May in Goa, while the SCO defense ministers’ gathering is set to take place later this month in Delhi. Invitations to both sessions were granted by India.
The Modi government’s strategy, however, gives the Foreign Office the impression that India might not be interested in Pakistan attending those high-profile meetings.
“We still haven’t made up our minds. The Modi government may make it difficult for us to attend the SCO ministerial meetings, even though Pakistan intends to send its ministers, according to a source with knowledge of the behind-closed-door discussions.
The source asserted that it did not suit Prime Minister Modi to have Pakistan join the SCO meetings in India given the current situation. The neighboring country’s general elections are scheduled for the following year, and Prime Minister Modi has always profited from his anti-Pakistan campaign.
Sources made this assessment because of several recent happenings. In one such expert-level meeting, for instance, India effectively withdrew Pakistan’s invitation after objecting to the map Pakistan’s delegation had used during the preceding discussion.
India took issue with the map’s depiction of Jammu and Kashmir as one single disputed territory.
Similarly, to this, India declined to send its cricket team to Pakistan for the upcoming Asia Cup. India would want to play at a neutral site or move the Asian Cup out of Pakistan. As a result, it might be challenging for the Pakistani authorities to approve the Green Shirts’ trip to India for the 50-over World Cup later this year.
A plan to have Pakistan play all of its World Cup games in Bangladesh is already being considered.
All of this, according to the sources, demonstrated that the Indian government was not motivated to engage with Pakistan on regional platforms or even resume sporting ties.
Attending the SCO ministerial meetings, however, would be decided closer to the occasions. The choice Pakistan makes will also be influenced by China.